Episode 69 -How Accidental Entrepreneur, Fran Dunaway of TomboyX, happened to launch an apparel company

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Terri talks to Fran Dunaway of TomboyX about how she and her partner and wife Naomi Gonzalez started TomboyX in 2014 to create a better shirt and ended up launching an underwear company.  Fran and Naomi recently raised a Series A and Fran shares their journey to this point and where she sees TomboyX going in the next few years.  

Who is Fran Dunaway?  

Fran likes to call herself the accidental entrepreneur. In 2013, she had a great life as partner in a media strategies firm with big budgets, lots of vacation time, regular exercise, and excellent sleep habits. She and her wife, Naomi Gonzalez, started a little side business because they wanted some cool button-down shirts like a Robert Graham for women. They picked the name TomboyX because they thought it was cute.  
When the name started resonating with women and girls around the world, they knew they had an instant brand. It turns out that the word 'tomboy' opens the door to a conversation about being whoever it is you want to be. Women were SO elated to have a brand that saw them for who they are at their core. So, when customers started begging for TomboyX to design the first boxer briefs for women, Fran and Naomi obliged.  
In September 2014, they pre-sold two styles of boxer briefs designed for women and sold out in two weeks. They have never looked back. TomboyX has since refocused solely into the underwear/loungewear market and is thriving on the fact that people of all shapes and sizes want to be part of a brand that stands for values they share. Their customers continually prove that there is a toughness required to express your individuality – the defining characteristics of a tomboy. 

Show Highlights 

  • Fran shares the story behind TomboyX and the evolution of the TomboyX brand 

  • Fran continues to talk about how difficult it has been to raise funds to fund the business and what it’s like to run out of inventory as an apparel brand.  

  • Terri and Fran about the shifting landscape for female founders and the economic opportunity in investing in these founders.  

  • Fran explains how she went from a job in corporate to being a founder and focusing on TomboyX 100% 

  • Fran talks about how she and Naomi have evolved as founders and leaders and the evolution of their team as the company as grown and matured 

  • Terri asks Fran about how she sees the company evolve over the next few years 

  • If Fran could wave a magic wand, she would change the lens with which we see each other; to be less judgmental of each other and to have greater clarity as to who we are as individuals.   

  • Fran’s favorite founder resources are Loose Threads (podcast), Leap Frog (the book) and founders stories in general. 


Terri’s Key Takeaway 

Money is power and to shift the power dynamic, we need to shift the economic dynamic.  


References in the Podcast 




Fran can be reached through the TomboyX website https://tomboyx.com/,  on Twitter @fdunaway and via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/frandunaway/ 

You can follow Terri on Twitter at @terrihansonmead or go to her website at www.terrihansonmead.com or on Medium:  https://medium.com/@terrihansonmead.  

Feel free to email Terri at PilotingYourLife@gmail.com. 

To continue the conversation, go to Twitter at @PilotingLife and use hashtag #PilotingYourLife.